“You take the blue pill, the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.” – Morpheus
Since the Pax Romana (c.30 B.C-200 A.D) and the ‘Christianization’ of the Roman Empire (c.300 A.D), the Western world has been held captive by a particular ‘worldview’ or a subjective way of viewing the world, others and oneself. Namely Western civilization as we know it has been strongly influenced by the Greco-Roman metanarrative of life. Everything from capitalism, colonization, environmental destruction, mass slavery, socio-economic disparity, religious supremacy and individualism (you know the good old things?) has its roots in Greco philosophy and Roman politics. Now is the time to shake off the bliss of conformity and challenge the system that has and still does justify oppression and exploitation.
Now is the time to take the red pill of revolution, exit the Greco-Roman matrix, and see that there’s more than one worldview that has legitimate rights in perceiving the world, others and oneself. What is real? What is truth? Well…shall we go down the rabbit hole and see?
Arguably the biggest sucker has been the Church, especially mainstream theology and biblical exegesis (interpretation of Scripture). The Greco-Roman worldview is cemented on three core pillars (in which the Church has done a swell job at embodying throughout history):
- Platonic philosophy (how we view the world) – Based on the works of Plato, dualism teaches that material (the Earth, human bodies, animals, things that change) is of no inherent value, is essentially ‘sinful’ and not real. What is real is the immaterial (concepts, reason, spirit, ‘god’ and heaven’) and the immaterial is what ‘matters’ (sorry about the pun) because it is unchangeable and transcendent. Mainstream theology (especially around salvation and eschatology) is inherently dualistic.
- Monocultural anthropology (how we view others/people) – Based on the confidence of Greco-Roman superiority, all other people groups were deemed barbarians and inferior because they didn’t possess the Greco-Roman culture. The Christian religion has become a means unto itself, and it is heavily coloured with supremacy bigotry. Church norms almost encourage youth to catalogue their friends into ‘saved’ and ‘unsaved.’
- Self-righteous ontology (how we view our self/our existence) – Fundamentally a by-product of the first two components. As the holders of universal Truth, the Greco-Roman worldview went from a ‘superior’ perspective to being touted as ‘the ONLY’ perspective, essentially going from subjective to objective. Exegesis of the Bible as the ‘authoritative word of God’ has essentially given the Church a justified mandate (as the spiritual elect of God) to either assimilate (evangelism?), neglect or oppress people with different worldviews.
I’m going to sum up the three pillars of the Greco-Roman worldview with separation, supremacy, and exclusion.
Arguably Jesus and the Kingdom of God is not a narrative of separating everything into categories of value and no value, real and not real; rather it is a story of a holistic world, an integrated cosmos in which everything offers worth and reality. Do we live in a fallen and dirty world waiting to be destroyed (so in the meantime it’s a resource for capital) because the only thing that matters is the transcendent ideal of heaven? No, this world is good and real (there’s global problems but it’s still good and of value).
Possibly the narrative of the messiah of all nations is not a story of one group having supremacy over all other people groups; rather it is an invitation for diverse collaboration in which we are all equally special in our socio-cultural context. Are other people of lesser value than us because they have different cultures, beliefs, and religions? Quite simply no, and neither are their customs.
Maybe the narrative of the embodied incarnation of the loving ethos of God is not a story of exclusion (assimilation, neglect, and oppression) and self-righteous confidence because we have the objective universal truth; rather it is a manner of relationality in which we perceive ourselves in mutual relationship with our neighbours. Isn’t our purpose to ‘save’ people from their false gods and truths and lead them to the True God which is our God ©? No I don’t believe so, last time I checked Jesus said ‘love one another’ – not assimilate, neglect and oppress one another.
We need to exit the matrix of the Greco-Roman worldview which is fuelled by separation, supremacy, and exclusion. Taking the red pill we will see that the wonderland of the Kingdom of God is painted with integration, collaboration and relationality. How we view the world (hope), others (faith) and ourselves in relation to others and the world (love) all depends on whether we are game enough to journey down the road less trodden and meaningfully ask what and why Jesus incarnated.